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Food Safety - Fridge, Freezer and Temperatures

The ‘4 hour/2 hour rule’ for safe storage of food

The following actions are recommended for any potentially hazardous food that has been at temperatures between 5 °C and 60 °C for a total of:

  • less than 2 hours – refrigerate or use immediately

  • longer than 2 hours but less than 4 hours – use immediately

  • 4 hours or longer – must be thrown out.


Make a note of the time the power went off. If available, use a watch and a thermometer to follow these time and temperature recommendations. Eat perishable foods first and save the dried and canned food until last.

The advice offered here refers to any or all potentially hazardous food except those normally kept at room temperature or jams, pickles and other acid foods.  Important note: If you are unsure about the time that has passed or the temperature your food has been stored at then throwing the food out is the safest option.

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